Heartbeat actress Tricia Penrose sings praises of caring retired police officer

Heartbeat actress Tricia Penrose will sing the praises of a retired police officer who has gone above and beyond for his community during lockdown.

Tricia Penrose Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images

The singer has agreed to join in a One Big Thank You surprise organised by BBC1’s The One Show on Thursday for former Detective Chief Inspector Peter Morriss, who has been delivering food parcels in the villages around Market Weighton since lockdown began.

“He’s been with us since the beginning of lockdown,” says Helen Slater, who helps run the People’s Pantry at All Saints Church.

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“He’s always said ‘if you need me, ring me’. He’s brilliant, nothing is ever too much for him. He is such a lovely man.”

BBC1s The One Show arranged the surprise for former Detective Chief Inspector Peter Morriss

Mr Morriss, who worked for Humberside Police, has also done supermarket shopping every week of lockdown for elderly and shielding neighbours.

“If he is not helping other people he’s doing jobs everywhere,” says his wife Shelagh. “He sees how vulnerable people are and with coronavirus being so serious, he just wants to keep them safe. He’s a very caring person.”

A big screen has been installed at the food pantry in All Saints Church to surprise Mr Morriss, who is a big fan of Tricia Penrose.

She has recorded this message for him: “The people in your community and your family are so proud of the tireless work you do. A big thank you for being such an inspiration, especially in these difficult last few months. You’ve helped so many!”

One Show presenter Alex Jones, who describes the thank you as “so well-deserved” will then reveal that Mr Morriss’s children and grandchildren, whom he’s not been able to see during lockdown, are at the church to surprise him and Shelagh.

“It will be the first time we’ve all been together since Christmas,” explains their son Will, who wrote to The One Show to nominate his father for the surprise.

“I think, in a word, he’s just selfless. He’s always put other people first. There are a lot of over 70s where he lives and he’s just tried to make it as safe as possible for them so they haven’t needed to leave the house.”

Always modest, Peter’s reaction to the surprise was: “I’m touched. I’m not sure it’s deserved, I’m sure there’s people doing a lot more than me. It is lovely to see my family all in one place though, that’s brilliant. We’ve been ringing up and going on Skype like everyone else, but it’s not the same.”

As well as helping his neighbours, he is also often on-call as a first responder, equipped with a defibrillator and trained to do CPR on people waiting for ambulances in the rural Yorkshire Wolds.

Mr Morriss also volunteers for Beverley Community Lift, driving elderly and vulnerable people to medical appointments, shopping trips or on outings.

Manager Fiona Wales says: “He’s always willing to do things to help you out. He’s very friendly and approachable and patient with our elderly clients. He’s a wonder, is Peter.”

The One Show is on BBC1 at 7pm on Thursday June 18